Well, I’m writing this on a Monday and I just got home from Glastonbury 2012. For some odd reason, I feel refreshed and energised, almost as if I had a normal weekend.
Here are the highlights of the festival, what went down, who flopped, who rocked and the burning question – did Michael Eavis describe it as the best Glastonbury ever?
Glastonbury is not about the music. There, I said it, and now we can move on. Oh, but not before saying that if I have to go back to work after one more festival and get berated for missing Springsteen/Beyonce/Stevie Wonder headlining the Pyramid, I’m going to print out a stock response and hand it out as flyers to the accusers. This stock response will follow the format of “well, Empire of the Sun were headlining the Park and it’ll be an amazing show/less crowded/I just can’t be bothered to get stuck in a crush for an hour after leaving the Pyramid”.
I did make it to the Pyramid on the Friday night, when I still had energy – I wouldn’t have missed the Stone Roses for the world. And rocked my world they did.
The surprise hit of the weekend was Rihanna. I mean…I missed it…just as I missed Beyonce last year. See above re: Pyramid stage. But apparently she smashed it.
The surprise flop of the weekend was Gotye. People flocked in their masses to see him headline the John Peel on Saturday – only to be surprised that none of the other songs had anything like the catchy hook of Somebody That I Used To Know. Cue a couple of thousand people looking confused and trying to pretend that they knew what they were getting themselves in for.
It probably would have been a convenient year to have a year off, as this year Glastonbury was a complete mud bath. The festival’s pretty used to bad weather, so the site coped a bit better than the poor souls at Isle of Wight.
Weird Celebrity Rumours
Not only was it rumoured that the TOWIE cast were filming a special at Glastonbury, but Kim Kardashian turned up to support boyfriend Kanye West, who performed on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night. I heard that Niall from One Direction was seen trying to blag his way in at the gates, to no avail from the dreadlocked volunteer steward who had not heard of him. Awesome.
Glastonbury wouldn’t be Glastonbury without a weird celebrity death rumour. In fact, my friends and I spent most of the 2009 festival convinced that Michael Jackson was alive and well, and that the outside world was taking advantage of our detachment from real life & winding us up. I even got my friend to send me photos of her TV screen with the news on…and still didn’t believe her.
This year, at various points, rumours went round that all sorts of folk had passed away – to the extent that Twitter users in the outside world launched the hashtag #RIPno1 to keep us up to date. Shame we couldn’t get onto 3G on site – that’s rural Somerset for you. So the rumours abounded as usual.
Weirdly, saying this from the standpoint of someone who’s only barely interested in football, there’s something about an international tournament that can be the icing on the cake at Glastonbury – seeing matches on the big screen in a field of thousands has an electric atmosphere. This year, we had to wait for the Sunday night to see England vs. Italy in the quarter-finals of the European Championships.
Just as when Germany knocked England out of the World Cup during Glastonbury 2010, Italy’s Sunday-night defeat against England made absolutely no difference to everyone’s enjoyment of the festival. We watched the game (well, those of us who could get near the screens and who didn’t mind missing Paul Weller supporting RiRi did). We even hung around for the penalties. We made a few funny jokes about people called Ashley and then we got on with our lives. For that is the British way.
So, what’s next?
For a change, Michael Eavis didn’t say that Glastonbury 2012 was the best one yet. In fact, he was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Glasto this year was hosted by weird pink aliens with cow print nail art. On the last night, they came down (at first we thought it was the traditional midnight fireworks) and mimicked the festival behaviour of old by walking around naked on stilts.
Ok, Ok, Glastonbury 2012 didn’t happen – they took a year off to give the ground a chance to recover, and possibly because there aren’t enough Portaloos in the UK to cover Glastonbury as well as the Olympics (I’m serious). I thought I’d be a bit of a wreck without Glastonbury, but writing this helped and, well the insane amount of rain that fell this weekend sort of numbs the blow as well.
If you’d like to hear about some festivals that aren’t products of my imagination, have a look at my Top 5 UK Festivals of 2012 (probably) post.